Since the onset of COVID-19, the U.S. Department of Justice (Department) has prioritized pandemic-related cases in a very public way. In a series of March 2020 memos, Department officials have warned of a range of pandemic-related schemes, dedicated staff and shored up public reporting hotlines. The Department even constituted a “Hoarding and Price Gouging Task Force” to enforce little-known provisions of the Defense Product Act (DPA) aimed at price gouging on goods intended to slow the spread of the virus. Attorney General William P. Barr directed federal prosecutors “to prioritize the detection, investigation, and prosecution of all criminal conduct related to the current pandemic.”
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